Fantasy football

David Leffler

With ten games decided by seven points or less, including two that went into overtime, this week’s slate of NFL action had plenty of nail-biters. Consequently, it only makes sense that fantasy football games across the board also came down to the wire. When the stakes are high and every point matters, some players embrace the pressure while others crumble:

Fantasy Studs:

1) Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
Looking 2010-esque, when he ran for over 2,000 yards, Johnson absolutely torched the Bills Sunday while carrying his team to a 35-34 victory. CJ2K gashed Buffalo’s defense, accumulating 195 rushing yards and two touchdowns in what was easily his best game of the season. After a slow first month, Johnson appears to be heating up with still over half of the 2012 season remaining. If that’s indeed the case, watch out.

2) Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson absolutely embarrassed the secondary of the New Orleans Saints, hauling in seven passes for 216 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs 28-35 loss. The eighth-year veteran has been on a tear as of late, hauling in four touchdowns in his last three games. However, this was by far his best performance since joining the Bucs as a free agent this offseason.

3) Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Although Vincent Jackson played incredibly for the Bucs, Drew Brees still managed to outshine him. The native Austinite threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns, completing passes to seven different receivers while leading New Orleans to its second consecutive victory after starting the season 0-4.


Fantasy Duds:
1) Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant continues to frustrate fantasy owners with his inconsistent play, turning in an awful performance Sunday against the Panthers after having his best of the season last week. The Oklahoma State product caught only two passes for 14 yards and was targeted a whopping three times by quarterback Tony Romo. Until he shows the ability to produce week in and week out, Bryant cannot be considered a top-tier fantasy wide out.

2) Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Many, including myself, believed this week’s Ravens-Texans was a possible preview of the AFC Championship game. Instead, it was a complete blowout as the Texans won big, 43-13. Flacco struggled all game long, completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes for 147 yards and two interceptions. Although a third-quarter touchdown pass saved him from total fantasy irrelevance, Flacco’s performance Sunday was a absolute flop.

3) Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
After a scintillating start to the season, when he caught four touchdowns in his first three games, Davis was practically a no-show last week against the Giants. However, things got even worse for him in Thursday’s 13-6 victory over Seattle. Not only did the Seahawks hold him without a catch, he wasn’t even targeted by quarterback Alex Smith. Visibly frustrated after the game, Davis said opposing defenses “are just taking stuff away, some of my explosive routes and stuff.” On behalf of fantasy owners and 49ers fans alike, let’s hope this lack of production doesn’t continue.